There’s a new Jerk in town

With a solo show happening in April, Australian comedian Khaled Khalafalla, is someone to watch out for. Dubbed as the next “huge mainstream star” by The Age, Sahar Mourad caught up with Khaled to see how he got to where he is now and what to expect from him in the near future.

Sahar: What inspired you to start a career in comedy?

Khaled: I enjoy making people laugh, and I’m bad at everything else.

Sahar: How do you come up with your jokes?

Khaled: By volume. Come up with heaps of stupid ideas, the kind of ideas anyone can come up with, then the next morning the ones that I remember are the ones that I test on stage. Repeat forever.

Sahar: What is one thing you hope to achieve as a comedian?

Khaled: Consistency and diversity. To be able to keep doing my thing consistently, and get to do enough different things so it isn’t boring. And also money. I want money.

Sahar: Who is your favourite comedian?

Khaled: My favourite comedian is like my favourite song. I have different taste every month as trends change. But the person who was my ultimate inspiration to begin was Eddie Murphy.

Sahar: Who is one comedian you one day hope to collaborate with?

Khaled: John Mulaney.

Sahar: You use comedy as a means of commenting on ethnicity/gender issues which occur in Australia i.e. breastfeeding, ban the burqa, Cronulla riots etc. How do you feel that your message is taken when you incorporate comedy with these controversial topics, or you ‘Halal’ or ‘Hell’ comment about them?

Khaled: It’s taken pretty well depending on how well I say it. People are pretty willing to hear adversarial ideas. People just don’t like hearing adversarial words. It’s like a maths equation, when an issue is problematic, just shuffle the words around in a way which is still syntactically correct and try again till you find the safest way to relay the same idea. People eventually like it. Or don’t. Who cares.

Sahar: What advice do you have for someone aspiring a career in comedy?

Khaled: Don’t do it. It’s a horrendous career. It will put a strain on your family, relationships, hobbies and general mental health and well-being. If you still want to do it after hearing that, you don’t need my advice.

Sahar: What can we expect from you in the near future?

Khaled: My solo show “Jerk” is in the Melbourne International Comedy festival during April. It’s really great. You’ll also see my face in a movie, Ali’s Wedding later this year; I’m also currently filming a small role in ABC’s hit series Upper Middle Bogan to air later this year.